Saturday night, the day before Sunday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, a gunman killed five and injured 17 people at the gay nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The gunman has since been indicted and charged with five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crimes.
The police were previously made aware of the suspect by his own mother in 2021 when she called emergency services to tell them “he was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”
On Saturday, before the police arrived on the scene, Richard Fierro, a U.S Veteran who was at the club to watch a Drag performance with his daughter, daughter’s boyfriend, and wife, successfully disarmed the shooter. His daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, died in the shooting. Fierro spoke about Raymond Green Vance and told the press, “I want those five families to know that’s all I care about. I want those that are in the hospital right now to get better. Please get better. We went out to see a show and had a good time. And thank God Raymond was smiling, he was dancing with my kid, and my daughter got to spend the last day with him happy.” In an interview with New York Times, he told the news organization that after fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan he left the army because of psychological trauma but that he never expected “to face that violence at home.”
In response to the shooting, President Joe Biden addressed the nation and said Americans “cannot and must not tolerate hate.”
Senior director of communications for GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, highlighted two contributing factors in Saturday night’s shooting, “as we wait for evidence and information to emerge, what we do know is that this violent and unspeakable crime, which clearly targeted LGBTQ people, illustrates two facts: One, the epidemic of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, especially anti-transgender rhetoric, is infecting every part of America, created by politicians in their crass drive for power, parroted by right-wing media outlets, and amplified by social media platforms who prioritize profits over public safety. And two: assault weapons continue to senselessly end American lives, and we need common-sense gun safety reform now.
He emphasized that due to America’s current political climate, “newly released GLAAD polling now shows a worsening climate for LGBTQ people: 72% of transgender people and 48% of the LGBTQ community overall say that the current political environment makes them fear for their personal safety.”